The story of why pigs are haram (not kosher, that is, a forbidden food) to some religious groups may be found in an earlier posting Why Orthodox Jews Don't Eat Pork!
But apart from the religious origins, the vexed issue of pigs and pork have graduated from haram to abominable due to a contemporary mix of politics and ethnic divide.
It's hardly surprising that Malacca MB Ali Rustam has been attempting to remove pig farms from his State. Last year we saw an MB on steroids against pig farms giving a headache to his so-called partner, the poor MCA MLAs.
Today malaysiakini highlighted how pig farmers at Paya Mengkuang behaved as if under siege, and indeed they were, surrounded by none other than our uniformed men under orders from the Malacca State government to eliminate pigs and their farms.
All roads leading into Paya Mengkuang - about 30 minutes’ drive north of Malacca city - were cordoned off by the police, isolating the village.
Fifty of the police personnel stood by in plastic-suits, waiting for the state government’s order to move into the pig farms to kill the animals.
About 100 anti-riot squad personnel were also on stand by.
Six excavators had been brought in to dig mass graves to bury the dead pigs while six police trucks including some with water cannon were stationed in the vicinity.
On the other side were the villagers - men, women and children forming a human shield at the main entrance to their farms. The barricade included a number of small trucks.
Well … though not quite Masada or Little Big Horn, there was a sense of fear, anger and eventually relief when the police were ordered (by whom?) to withdraw.
The Chinese pig farmers have invested hundreds of thousands in rinngit in their pig farms - they would certainly fight for their livelihood and lives. You can't just waltz in and remove that considerable investment without due compensation. That's like the Israelis and Americans demolishing Lebanese, Afghan and Iraqi villages without a damn care in the world, sending thousands of locals into ruin and despair.
As a non Muslim (that ‘non’ word again) I do partake of pork, though I don’t place great store on it as if it’s something I can’t do without. But properly cooked, it can provide great dishes.
However, I admit that pig farms are terrible in their capacity to assault our olfactory senses. I wouldn’t want to live next door to a farm. Once I was interested in a girl, who of course according to Murphy’s Law lived in a house next to a river, where there just had to be a pig farm located just across the river.
Alas, my hormornes demanded that I braved the horrible stench for a day or two, after which I became insensitive to the smell of porky’s yuckinessl
If Ali Rustam wants to reduce or even eliminate the existence of pig farms in his State, he must work out a compensation plan to motivate those farmers to move out.
But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there was neither State compensation nor warning for the pig farmers. As I blogged last year in If only pigs can fly .....:
But regrettably the Malacca government, without any warning, has ordered the closure of all the pig farms in the state in a letter, which was only issued to farmers on March 1. The letter, from the state’s veterinary services department, gave the breeders just two weeks to comply.
The state government doesn’t care how those farmers do it but the 82 farms must be closed; so the farmers, for all it cares, can sell, shift the animals or use any means necessary to ensure that their farms are not operational and closed after the 15th of this month.
If only pigs can fly ..... though that's not what the paraphrased old Scottish saying actually means, I am sure the breeders would be happy to fly theirs off.
If those farms aren’t closed ordered by the deadline, they will be seized!
Rustam did set some conditions for not closing the farm - he demanded that the breeders convert the land use, submit the farm draft plans and building plans. But the farmers complained that the short notification [just a week left by the time the government notification letter arrived in their hands] makes it impossible for any farmer to comply.
It seems that the State government is determined to close or seize the farm, obviously by stealth, considering the unreasonable time given and the verbal promises and assurance by Rustam and state secretary Ismail!
But what about the centralised place that was earlier mentioned? Tough, the State government had not yet determined the location, and most probably never will. So, as far as the Rustam government is concerned, the pig breeders can get lost, or go organise a pig farming cooperative to apply for a place, or fulfil Rustam's 3 conditions. All these in 1 week! This time I say it in its intended meaning - And pigs can fly.
As for Rustam's or state secretary Ismail's promises made to the MCA exco members of not closing the farms, well, as we all know of politicians, promises have always been meant to be broken.
Remember Ali Rustam is the UMNO bloke who hasn’t been doing all that well in the UMNO hierarchy. If his Johor colleague was playing up the ‘pivotal race’ angle, I reckon Ali Rustam has been playing the ‘porky’ issue.
Now, wasn’t he the MB who took pains to honour PM AAB new spouse with a Datukship?
In Elegant Smile - Elegant Title - Elegant Hopes? I posted:
PM AAB’s wife Jeanne Abdullah has been conferred the Darjah Utama Negeri Melaka by Malacca Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.
The honour from the state of Hang Tuah carries the title Datuk Seri Utama. Jeanne was awarded the title in a ceremony at Seri Negeri yesterday. There were more than 500 (presumably adoring oo-ing and ah-ing) dignitaries, including CM Mohd Ali Rustam and his wife Asmah Abdul Rahman at the ceremony. Hmmm, someone still (elegantly) hopes to be the come-back kid ... eh?
With any UMNO action, whether pigs, pivotal race or a student rapper, there’s always an internal UMNO political angle.